On September 22, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States and Head of Delegation to the General Debate of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, gave an address at the Side Event entitled “The Protection of Religious Minorities in Conflict,” sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Hungary to the UN, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN, and the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.
In his address, Archbishop Gallagher noted that war and conflict regularly provide the backdrop for religious minorities to be targeted for persecution, violence, enslavement, exile, murder, ethnic cleansing and other crimes against humanity. Because of how widespread attacks against religious minorities are, their protection, he said, must be one of the most urgent responsibilities of the international community and must extend to examining and eradicating the root causes of that persecution. He listed several essential elements needed to protect religious minorities: a need for action and not just words; equality before the law, regardless of religion, race or ethnicity, based on the principle of citizenship; mutual autonomy and positive collaboration between religious communities and the State; the condemnation of the abuse of religious belief to justify terrorism against believers of other religions; effective interreligious dialogue as an antidote to fundamentalism; education in general and solid religious education in particular; and blocking the flow of money and weapons to those intending to use them against religious minorities.
The statement can be found here.